Regional Security Complex Theory should not be confused with Regionalism, a subset of IR from the 70s concerned mostly with regional integration (B. Buzan, 2003).
As defined by Buzan and Waever (2003), a Regional Security Complex is a set of units whose major process of securitization, de securitization, or both are so interlinked that their security problems cannot reasonably be analyzed or resolved apart from each other (Barry Buzan & Waever, 2003). Most proponents of the Regional Security Complex Theory are prepared to accept that constructivism can be used to explain much of what happens in regions. But when it comes to the question of security, Regional Security Complex Theorists accept that realism holds sway: it is largely, if not exclusively, about power and boundaries and zero-sum games.(Jones, 2008) Ole Waever and Barry Buzan (2003), define securitization as a successful speech act: “through which an inter subjective understanding is constructed within a political community to treat something as an existential threat to a valued referent object, and to enable a call for urgent and exceptional measures to deal with the threat”.
The post-Cold War witnessed a proliferation of works that sought to rethink, re-define, and re-conceptualize security. Barry Buzan called for broadening the concept beyond its purely military focus and looking below and beyond the state for other referents (Barry Buzan, 1983). Buzan proposed to broaden security by taking into consideration four other dimensions, namely the political, economic, societal, and environmental in addition to that of the military. The military dimension, maintained Buzan, had so far been paid ‘disproportionate’ attention. This has had two consequences. First, other dimensions were paid inadequate attention. Second, by concentrating primarily on the military dimension of security, analysts had become too preoccupied with ‘national’ security perspectives (Barry Buzan, 1991).
Ken Booth proposed broadening security to include ‘”all those physical and human constraints which stop them from carrying out what they would freely choose to do” (Booth, 1991). Such constraints may include human rights abuses, water shortage, illiteracy, lack of access to health care and birth control, militarization of society, environmental degradation, and economic deprivation as well as armed conflict at the state and sub-state levels.
However, Walt (1991) criticized the arguments developed by Buzan and Booth called for broadening security. Walt opposed broadening security on two grounds. First, he seemed to worry that a broader security agenda would result in less attention being paid to military threats, which he was keen to stress, had not yet been eliminated despite the end of the superpower conflict. Second, argued Walt, a broader conception of security will undermine the coherence of Security Studies as a field of academic study. He believed that broadening the concept would “destroy (the field’s) intellectual coherence and make it more difficult to devise solutions to any of these important problems” (Walt, 1991). In short, Walt’s argument was that although non-military issues deserved attention, Security Studies was not the place to address them.
In another perspective some scholars believe that “security” is imprecisely termed a right or a first freedom. In other words, the idea of security as a right and freedom is historically ingrained in the need to be protected from each other (from internal enemies as well as external ones). In this understanding, the role of the state is to secure both the nation and the individual right to security (Rita Dhamoon, 2009). In these instances, security serves as a guise to build “a national consensus behind state violence” (Brown, 2006). Walker specifically contends that the concept of security should be reformulated so as to shift away from the idea that it is simply a policy or legislative stance by governments, and toward an understanding of security as a problem of knowledge (Walker, 2007).
According to Samuel P. Huntington, security rests primarily not on the defense of territory, but instead on the development and maintenance of a set of relationships among the major powers so that no power or combination of powers can threaten the others. Security in this sense may be as much the product of diplomacy as it is of armaments. It seems clear that the United States would feel insecure if any other power or combination of powers acquired global preeminence comparable to that which the United States is now losing. What it does require is the maintenance of a world balance of powers system, in which no state is in a position to establish global predominance (Huntington, 1973). After the collapse of the Soviet Union and in a new world order, the US had the proper position in the world and especially in the Persian Gulf region. In this regard, the US security policies regarding to the Persian Gulf were unilateral and without engagement of local coastal states.
The definition of American from term of “security” before collapse of the Soviet Union was dependent on the Soviet Union, as Huntington mentioned that “the soviet Union is an essential participant in any significant threat to American security” (Huntington, 1973). In foreseeable future, it was conceivable that the Persian Gulf region was a central spot in the security of the United States of America because this area had a vital role for Americans. It must follow the general goal of maintaining a balanced set of relationships among the major powers.
The primary security interest of the United States is to prevent another power from achieving global hegemony and consequently to maintain a global balance of power. The United States would feel and would be insecure if any major external power achieved a monopoly of external influence or control in any one of these regions and consequently was in a position to shut off American political, economic, and cultural access to the region. Hence, a goal of American security policy should be to prevent any one of these regions from falling under the exclusive dominance of another external power (Huntington, 1973).
Another point of view toward security is from Waltz. He believes the reason that statesmen are preoccupied with the use of force is because international politics is anarchic. So there exists no authority above states (Robert J Art & Kenneth Neal Waltz, 1983). From this fact flow five important consequences for states’ behavior, each of which bears vitally upon the role of military power in international politics:
1. All states must fend for themselves.
2. All states must make provisions for their physical security.
3. Each state must be concerned about its short-term position relative to others above concern for the long-term absolute gain of all.
4. All states in anarchy are in a position of strategic interdependence.
5. States in anarchy cannot afford to be moral (pp4-6).
Stephen Walt’s main study about regional security was that balance of power theory is less powerful than a theory of balance of threats in explaining state behavior. “Although the distribution of power is an extremely important factor”, “the level of threat is also affected by geographic proximity, offensive capabilities, and perceived intentions”. (Walt, 1987) However, although critical of U.S. approaches to security in the region, Walt’s conception of regional security remained outward directed in that he understood security in the Middle East as one of making the region inviolable to Soviet intervention and communist infiltration. Walt’s criticism, then, stemmed from his rejection of the argument that it was necessary to bring regional states under the roof of anti-Soviet alliances in order to secure Western interests in the region (Walt 1987: 3).
Walt’s conception of regional security did not constitute a deviation from the top-down, outward-directed and military-focused security thinking of mainstream approaches. True to his neo-realist perspective, Walt built his argument on the assumption that international anarchy conditioned regional states to endlessly seek to balance each other in the attempt to maintain security. Yet, he failed to note how their alignment behavior was designed to counter internal as well as external threats. In fairness to Walt, he did show awareness of how non-military factors seemed to shape regional states’ alliance behaviors (Walt 1987: 149).
Kraig defines what is meant by “regional security” He offers the following definition of regional security:” a situation in which the financial and human capital of nations is used primarily for social, political, economic and spiritual development, rather than for military and security (Kraig, 2004).
Another concept that will be examined in this study is Collective Security. It is supposed that Collective Security approach is an ideal security system for the Persian Gulf region. The concept of collective security may be defined as general cooperative action for the maintenance and enforcement of international peace. The concept of collective security: First, it assumes that each state is interested, to varying degrees, in the occurrence of interstate conflict and in methods employed in the settlement of international disputes. Secondly, the notion of a “general cooperative action” means that a collective security system is incompatible with the doctrine of self-help as a basis for international organizations. Thirdly, in order to preserve or re-establish peace, collective action, whenever necessary, can be undertaken. Fourthly, “general cooperative action” also implies that the vast majority of states in the collective security system must unite against the aggressor country (Tarzi, 1997).
There are three fundamental tenets for collective security system: First, it is a system of cooperation among states such that an act of aggression by one of its